It's easy to recognize behaviors and symptoms in others while not acknowledging them in yourself. It wasn't until a family member told me she had been diagnosed with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) that I mentally compared bad experiences from my past with hers.
I had already noticed some similarities in negative behavior we share, such as irresponsibility with money, a history of choosing to be with abusive men and the inability to control our mouths when angry.
That's when the alarm bells went off in my head and I finally realized I have had PTSD since I was 11 years old, not from just one trauma though. I also had various other horrific experiences over the years.
Many things can cause PTSD. in my case, a few of the reasons include sexual abuse, a marriage turning violent and a sudden death of a loved one. For me it was the unexpected death of my mom. It wasn't until the last event that I started trying to fight my demons.
Symptoms of PTSD include:
1. Intrusive memories or dreams
3. Negative changes in mood.
4. Emotional changes
5. Intensity of symptoms
If you or a loved one experience symptoms like these, you may want to read about them in more detail at the Mayo Clinic website.
It is also a good idea to discuss your symptoms with your doctor as soon as possible. While my doctor is fully aware of a couple the reasons that I have PTSD and has taken the time to really talk to me one on one, we've never discussed a specific treatment.
At my request, she prescribed an antidepressant after my mom died when I told her I had considered driving my car into a tree on the way to my appointment.
I had been dealing with a family crisis for many months at the time of my mom's passing so, looking back, I can see that it's no wonder I was on the brink of snapping. It took a few tries to find the right antidepressant.
Of course, it wasn't a magic fix all but it did help to mellow my mood. Your doctor should also be able to help you find the right kind of therapy and medication that works for you.
I know that going to a therapist should have also helped me deal with my past and I did go to several different ones over the years. I don't know why but therapy has never worked for me while it does wonders for other people.
Instead, the most therapeutic way to deal with PTSD for me has been writing. No matter what I write, a story, article or in a journal, when I'm finished it feels like a load of boulders has been lifted off of my shoulders.
Once you're diagnosed with PTSD and find medication and a type of therapy that works for you it is important that you stick with it. If you don't hang in there then your life will never move forward.
Just remember that you're not alone in suffering from PTSD, no matter what traumatic event may have caused it. There are thousands of other people going through the same thing. If you don't have friends and family that you feel comfortable talking to about the traumatic event then you should consider finding a support group.
You especially need a strong support system if your children also have PTSD from something traumatic such as abuse, violence or divorce. It is very important to get a traumatized child treatment.
I was never treated for my childhood trauma and it has greatly affected my whole life. I'm a very self-destructive person and I will probably always be.
I've learned to cope with the help of writing, medication and having a couple close friends I can talk to about anything. With the right kind of help, you will also learn to live with PTSD.